When 2K Games revealed earlier today that it was bringing the original BioShock to iOS devices before the end of the summer, many people acted with surprise. That was quickly followed with sorrow in some quarters.
This tweet sums up the reaction of many console and PC gamers pretty succinctly:
Now you can play Bioshock on your mobile phone! Or you could just not ruin that experience for yourself or something.
— Doboworth (@Doboworth) August 4, 2014
Some of that sentiment is no doubt driven by disappointment that the BioShock teasers floating around the internets the past few days were for a mobile port instead of an addition to the much-loved series. But some is also a little harder to understand, as if having a version of the game that is playable on phones or tablets somehow cheapens the original title in some way.
That’s not the case. As others have pointed out, BioShock is still going to be out there on PC and console just the way its always been. But having it on mobile is a signifcant step for several reasons:
- It’s not just any console or PC game
Console-to-mobile ports aren’t really huge news at this point. The eye-opening part of this announcement is that its BioShock, an award-winning title that released to bearly universal acclaim. That bodes well for mobile enthusiasts hoping other big name games will make their way over.
- It’s a first-person shooter
Some types of games are natural fits for touchscreens, but the FPS genre historically hasn’t been one of them. If 2k China can crack the tough nut of shooter controls on a smartphone or tablet, it could make people sit up and take notice.
- It speaks to the power of current mobile devices
BioShock first came out in 2007, when the thought of a phone running it would have been laughable. Now? Not so much. Mobile devices are becoming more powerful on an annual basis, and while they may never catch PCs in terms of raw computing power, they are gaining on consoles.
Make no mistake about it, no matter how you feel about seeing people playing BioShock on the train, this is a huge announcement. And if the port turns out to be any good, there are only going to be more just like it in the months to come.